This year I took an empty advent calendar and filled it with Christmasy things to do each day. Some days are simple things like "listen to Christmas music" or "eat a candy cane off the tree," and other days are a little more time consuming, like "read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," (which I read out loud on Friday to the kids and we laughed the whole way through - except the last chapter when I cried my eyes out...) or "make cookies."
We made chocolate chip cookies first, which was fun. And then we ate some with milk, which was more fun - and then the kids turned into monkeys from the sugar and I had to make the sugar cookies by myself. But when it came time to decorate, they settled down and were perfectly calm and intent on doing their task. It was lovely. and tasty.